Limerick SFC Final Day - Adare v Newcastle West
A novel final pairing for the Irish Wire Products Limerick SFC this Sunday (4.00) in the Gaelic Grounds.
For Newcastle West it’s a ninth final appearance – for Adare a third.
Newcastle West chase a fourth ever title and their second in three years – Adare bid for their maiden success after final losses in 2002 and 2010.
The bookies see Newcastle West as 4/7 favourites and offer 7/4 for an Adare win. At the outset of the championship Newcastle West were 4/1 third favourites, while Adare were 20/1 outsiders.
But the duo arrives in the Gaelic Grounds on Sunday as very much the form teams. Newcastle West hit the early headlines with a return of 9-26 in wins over St Patricks and Ballylanders but stumbled slightly before dethroning Monaleen in their semi final. Adare’s race to the final has been steady with momentum peaking in sparkling knockout wins over Ballylanders and Drom-Broadford.
On the surface Newcastle West will carry all experience into the decider but they do have fresh faces this season in Andrew Ruddle, Sean Murphy, Diarmaid Kelly and Sean Ivess.
That’s nothing like Adare of course with just Mikey Lyons, Neil Mulvihill, James Hickey remaining from the side that started the 2010 final loss to Monaleen. Ten of the Adare starting line-up will be U-23, many of those still U-21. But they come with a winning habit built from a 2014 minor title, 2015 Premier U-21 title and 2016 Limerick IFC title backboned by the Lyons brother Mikey and Davey, Connolly’s David and Mark, Bourke’s Hugh and Robbie, Shane Doherty and Jack English.
They went all the way to the Munster club IFC final last Autumn with an eye-catching semi final win over Cork’s Kiskeam. Even since then, Adare have realigned their line-up with five fresh faces since the Mallow Munster final loss to Kenmare. They could be without the injured Eoghan Costello.
For all their youthful exuberance and the pacy football produced by the Harry Gleeson managed and Joe Redington and Jerome Stack coached Adare in the quarter final and semi final wins, Newcastle West’s 2015 title win stands as a big advantage.
There can be no denying the experience of Stephen Kelly, Stephen Nix (if passed fit), Iain Corbett and Mike McMahon. Supplementing that are the talents of Cian Sheehan, Paul Hannan, Jamie Lee and James Kelly for the Joe Lee managed and Martin Horgan coached Newcastle West.
A look through recent results suggests little between the clubs, albeit line-ups have changed. In 2015 Adare actually beat Newcastle West – Adare were ultimately relegated while Newcastle West were champions. In 2014 Newcastle West won by a point.
On Sunday, Newcastle West must be favoured to lift another Fr Casey Cup but if Adare can reproduce the form of their quarter final and semi final wins, this should be a most entertaining final of fast open football.
Prediction: Newcastle West